Jocelyn Wallace is a stay at home wife and mother. In May 2013 Jocelyn resigned her position as Executive Director of Vision of Hope Residential Treatment Center to homeschool her beautiful daughters and "live off the land"! She has worked with families in faith-based, transitional housing programs, dealing with a vast amount of different issues. Her experience in the biblical counseling field goes back to 2002, and includes work in parachurch organizations and Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries.
On May 31, 2013, I left the best job in the world to become a stay at home wife and mother.
Until June 1, 2013, there had never been a day since January 1, 1996 that I hadn’t worked full time. There were times during those 17 years that I was working full time and also going to school full time earning my bachelor’s or master’s degrees. At some points I was working full time, going to school full time and also being a wife and mother full time.
Why not? I’m a woman. I can do anything.
There has never been a time in my life that women were not considered equal (or better) than men, that women weren’t working in the same jobs as men, that we didn’t have the same voice as men, or that we weren’t allowed to vote. Since birth, my world has been a place where women are the same. . .the same as men with equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal ambition.
When I was earning my bachelor’s degree from a Midwestern Big Ten University, women’s studies classes were a requirement for graduation. They were nothing short of feminist indoctrination, and by the end of our college careers most of us (including myself) had bought into what we were being taught.
But somewhere along the way Jesus became an immensely important part of my life and my husband‘s life. My incentives and desires to be in the workplace began to change. And ultimately I made the decision that raising my own two little girls and lovingly serving my husband full time were more important than any other opportunity in the world.
I truly did love my job, and I believe that God had uniquely gifted me to help that organization be successful. But one day as I walked the halls in between appointments it occurred to me that even the most wonderful job in the world where I was making a huge difference and impact on future generations would be bittersweet if my own “future generation” growing up right in my own home was lost.
I’ve come to believe that there’s a pretty big difference between being raised by your own parents and being raised by babysitters, daycare, schoolteachers, and nannies. While all of those people I hired to care for my children can teach them to follow our family rules and grow up to be really smart, none of them can teach my children from my loving perspective to grow up to love Jesus with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength.
I don’t want to produce children who can recite all of the Ten Commandments and follow the standards of the Bible in some legalistic way. . .but don‘t love.
I want to produce children who think about God all the time, because he was woven into their entire day. I want to produce children who love God with all of their hearts, because they saw their mommy living out that love to them with hands and feet. I want to produce children who are kind, gentle, and compassionate to others, because they saw that exemplified by their parents and then turned around and copied them.
Being a stay at home wife and mother is the hardest job I’ve ever done and I’m probably going to love it. Right now the verdict is still out on whether I will miss my job that was satisfying and challenging, miss my coworkers who always loved me well, and miss my clients that were happy to have me in their life more than I will be happy to be at home correcting my kids when they are mean to each other, disciplining them when they talk back, showing them how to not be lazy, and teaching them simple things that theoretically “anyone” could teach them.
What I do know is that Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says that I should love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might, and that I should teach that diligently to my children. Scripture says I should talk about my relationship with God and encourage my kids’ relationship with God when I sit in my home, when I walk with them in a grocery store, when I tuck them into bed at night and when we wake up in the mornings.
I personally don’t know how to do that if I’m not living life with them, and I personally couldn’t seem to fit that into the hour or two before daycare when we’re not awake or functioning and the hour or two after daycare when we’re all tired and grumpy.
I want my understanding of the gospel and my relationship with Christ to be lived out in front of my kids eyes, and for now at least, they are really the only “future generation” that I’m going to be focusing on impacting. I love Jesus, and I want my kids to love him too.
For us that meant shifting my life, so that for the time being, the majority of my time and energy is being spent living with the kids in order to capture the teachable moments as they occur.
For you, the end result may be different.
But regardless of the end result, whether you continue to work, shorten your hours, get creative with your employment, or sacrifice in many ways to stay home, the bottom line is that if we are raising our children well, we have to make it a priority.
So a word to stay at home moms, working moms, single moms or whatever other kind of mom: during the years that you are a parent with children in your home parenting them will need to be the most important thing (except your relationship with God and your spouse). Children don’t need the latest things, to be in every sport or activity, and to be proficient in three instruments. Children do need their parents, time with them, relationship connection, and a sense that they are one of the most important blessings in your life.